For the last few years, the Broncos have searched for a long-term solution at the punt and kick returner positions. After claiming Diontae Spencer off waivers just before the season started, they may have found an answer in the 5-foot-8 speedster who has sure hands and electrifying speed. We caught up with him recently to talk about what it's like to be a returner and more.
What does it feel like to return a punt or a kickoff, as the opposing team is all over the field and you're trying to weave your way through them?
"It's crazy, because I don't really think about it too much. It's more, I'm just trying to hit it full speed. I feel like if I hit it full speed, I can't be wrong. I just trust my blockers. You've got to be fearless to be back there, and that's what I do. I'm not afraid to get hit, if it's a big hit. I'm not really thinking too much. I prepare all week and I trust my guys in front of me that's blocking. So my job is to hit it full speed, and whatever happens, happens."
We see you on offense occasionally. How do you see defenses react?
"When I'm in there, defenses are pointing at me, saying, 'Watch him!' It's, like, the smallest little things, me getting a fake [and] having two or three defenders go my way. Something like that can get somebody wide open, and it confuses defenses because every time I'm in, I'm always getting some time of speed sweep or lining up in the backfield. You've just got to be alert for things like that."
When you were in the Canadian Football League, you set a single-game league record with 496 all-purpose yards. How does it feel to have a game like that?
"I felt like a super hero. It's crazy, because I had a similar game to that in college. I had that exact same feeling. It was just like I couldn't be tackled. Every time I touched the ball, it was kind of one of those things where I was getting positive plays out of it, being productive. It's something that you're not really focused in on. After the game, it was like, 'Man, you just set a record.' It was kind of one of those things where you're just in the zone. You're not really thinking about setting records or breaking records. You're just in the flow of the game and the energy is there, and I'm just so dialed in to where I feel like it's just me out there. I'm just in the back yard playing football."
Back in high school, you played quarterback a little. Can you give me a scouting report on Diontae Spencer the quarterback?
"In high school, it was more [that] you better stack the box and blitz as many as possible because every time, whether it was a pass or a run, I had the ability to break it for a long touchdown. I was one of those guys, if I got outside of the pocket and used my feet, I could make plays — throw it downfield or take off running."
Like Russell Wilson?
"I would say, if I had to compare myself to somebody, I would probably say Lamar Jackson, right now … just because people said he couldn't throw. A lot of people said that about me when I was playing quarterback. They said he wasn't a very good thrower, but I got the job done. I threw for over a thousand yards, so I feel like that's a passing quarterback."
What was your best game in high school? Did you ever play even better than that game in the CFL?
"I had four touchdowns against Eunice High. I had two rushing, one passing and a punt return."
What's something you miss about living in Canada?
"I would probably say just the vibe, the people. I feel like everybody is super, super nice there. … It's just one of those things where you feel like everybody is one. You go to a restaurant, you go to a grocery store, everybody is super nice. Even people in traffic. It's crazy."
What is the most Louisiana thing about you?
"I like seafood. I love crawfish. Anything fried — fried chicken, fried fish. But I would probably say my accent, too. People already automatically [when] they hear me talk, then it's like, 'Oh, you're from the south. You're from Louisiana.'"
I know you were big into celebrations in the CFL, and I saw you met Terrell Owens once. Did you get any advice on touchdown celebrations from him?
"He said just don't get penalized, that he learned the hard way. … But I'm one of those people that always have celebrations. Right now it's just my first year in the league. I'm trying to find the end zone."
Do you have something planned for when you do get in the end zone?
"Oh yeah, 100 percent. I've got a couple. Hopefully I can get in there soon and everybody can see."